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Side Pot Hand Analysis with Adam Geyer

Adam Geyer

Adam Geyer epitomizes what it means to be a silent assassin on the poker felt. He has flown slightly under the radar, and while his face may not be recognized by the general poker audience, his screen name, "csimmsux," strikes the fear among online regulars. He's accumulated more than $2.5 million in online and live tournament winnings and was mentioned as one of the Top 5 Performers in FTOPS history. We talked to him about a hand he played while deep in a Full Tilt Poker $150,000 Guarantee tournament in which a side pot affected his decision making.

Stakes: 3,000/6,000 with a 400 ante

Stack Sizes:
Adam Geyer - 247,056
Small Blind - 1,434
Big Blind - 55,055

At what stage in the tournament did this hand come up?

We are somewhere in the money here, with maybe around 100 players left.

Preflop Action: It folded around to Geyer who min-raised to 6,000 with {K-Hearts}{J-Spades}. It folded to the small blind who was all-in. The big blind called.

The small blind is crippled and is all-in blind this hand. The big blind has shown that he's not quite sure what's going on, so with my big stack, it's a normal open. The big blind called, putting about 8,000 to 9,000 in the main pot and 7,500 in the side.

Flop Action: The flop comes {8-Clubs}{7-Clubs}{6-Hearts}. The big blind checks, and Geyer bets 7,502, and the big blind calls.

I continuation bet, assuming he'll fold a decent amount of the time as people tend to fold a little more when there is a player all-in. Conventional/random player thinking is that, "He must have it since there is a player all-in and, damnit, he better have it so we can eliminate him!" His call surprises me, as I would expect him to check-raise all-in with anything he is calling with, with his short stack. But he calls, so I suspect he has a mediocre one pair hand and/or some kind of draw.

Turn Action: The turn is the {3-Diamonds}. The board now reads {8-Clubs}{7-Clubs}{6-Hearts}{3-Diamonds}. The big blind checked, and Geyer checked.

I tanked for a bit, trying to decide if I should bet the turn small, put him all-in, or check back. He has an awkward stack for this spot, and the three is a brick. I figured if I bet small he's going to call again, and then be priced in to call with any pair on the river, so I ruled that option out. Putting him all in seemed risky, as he might be in love with seven-nine or something, and a bit much to shove. So, I checked, ready to reevaluate the river. In hindsight though, I think a shove might have been better.

River Action: The river was the {a-Diamonds}. The board now reads {8-Clubs}{7-Clubs}{6-Hearts}{3-Diamonds}{a-Diamonds}. The big blind bet 3,000, and Geyer moved all in. The big blind folded, and Geyer wins the pot.

The river was a great card to represent. He quickly bet the minimum, which screamed to me he only had a seven or something and was just trying to block with a small bet. If he had bet more like a quarter or third of the pot as many people would, the stacks would've made it a harder shove. But he did not, so I shoved, and he quickly mucked. The shortstack flopped a straight for the tiny main pot, but oh well.

These side-pot spots are always kind of interesting in that people used to always just check down their hands so they could eliminate the third party easier. I used to see many people yell at the aggressor like I was here, and say, "What are you doing? He would have been knocked out!" But, by checking down, you're sacrificing your own EV in the pot, which is far more important to you than if you suddenly go from 113 players to 112 like in this spot. Obviously, it's different if you're at a final table with a big pay jump in play, but in general, it's far better to play the hand as if the third player isn't there. His presence does add another dynamic to the hand that good players can use to their advantage.

What other rivers are you reraising a min-bet on? A queen? Do you raise a king or jack for value or just call the bluff/block bet thinking no worse hands call your shove?

I would have raised a king or jack real small on the end for value because I think he would have called a small reraise with one pair. If a straight or flush type card came out and he made the same bet, I would have shoved as well, as I would assume this player would bet more than a tenth of the pot with a flush or straight himself. If another stone brick came out, I'm not sure what I would have done to his bet. I would probably still shove, but he's going to call a lot more often.

Can elaborate on why you think shoving the turn is better now that you look back at the hand?

Hindsight might be playing into me thinking it would have been better to push the turn now, as it's quite clear he had a second or third pair type hand. At the time, I think I just didn't like the stack sizes and thought he might spew with a bunch of hands. But, I should have known when he didn't check-raise all-in, he was pretty mediocre and couldn't stand to call a shove, or at least he shouldn't.

When is it actually correct to check it down when a player is all-in? When there is no or a very small side pot?

When there is no side pot or a very small one and you have something that absolutely can't win the main pot, like it got checked down to the end, and you have a missed draw, then you might as well check down and hope the other guy can take it.

But, if you flop any pair or have a big draw then, I think you should bet because you'll usually get heads up with the all-in player, and you would much rather have your third pair, ace-high, or hand with some sort of showdown player versus one opponent than two. You might as well not let the other guy get there and win the pot with something random, when you could've been heads up with the all-in guy and beat him with a worse hand, if that makes sense. The concept is that your own equity heads up versus a random hand is so much more valuable than going three-ways and eliminating one random short stack.

However, if you're at the main event final table or whatever, you would be more inclined to check down far bigger hands because with each elimination means many direct dollars.

How did you do in this tournament?

I ended up getting ninth in this to almost break even on the day. I semi-punted. Also "basebaldy" [Eric Baldwin] got sixth in it.

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